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The Control of Politicians in Divided Societies: The Politics of Fear

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  • Gerard Padr� i Miquel
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    Abstract

    Autocrats in many developing countries have extracted enormous personal rents from power. In addition, they have imposed inefficient policies including pervasive patronage spending. I present a model in which the presence of ethnic identities and the absence of institutionalized succession processes allow the ruler to elicit support from a sizeable share of the population despite large reductions in welfare. The fear of falling under an equally inefficient and venal ruler that favours another group is enough to discipline supporters. The model predicts extensive use of patronage, ethnic bias in taxation, and spending patterns and unveils a new mechanism through which economic frictions translate into increased rent extraction by the leader. These predictions are consistent with the experiences of bad governance, ethnic bias, wasteful policies, and kleptocracy in post-colonial Africa. Copyright 2007, Wiley-Blackwell.

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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1111/j.1467-937X.2007.00455.x
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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Oxford University Press in its journal The Review of Economic Studies.

    Volume (Year): 74 (2007)
    Issue (Month): 4 ()
    Pages: 1259-1274

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    Handle: RePEc:oup:restud:v:74:y:2007:i:4:p:1259-1274

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    Cited by:
    1. Christensen, Jonas Gade, 2011. "Democracy and Expropriations," Working Papers in Economics 06/11, University of Bergen, Department of Economics.
    2. Kaivan Munshi & Mark Rosenzweig, 2008. "The Efficacy of Parochial Politics: Caste, Commitment, and Competence in Indian Local Governments," NBER Working Papers 14335, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Sourav Bhattacharya & Joyee Deb & Tapas Kundu, 2011. "Mobility and Conflict," Working Papers 455, University of Pittsburgh, Department of Economics, revised Mar 2013.
    4. Jean-Marie Baland & Karl-Ove Moene & James A. Robinson, 2009. "Governance and Development," Working Papers 1007, University of Namur, Department of Economics.
    5. Daron Acemoglu & Georgy Egorov & Konstantin Sonin, 2010. "Political Selection and Persistence of Bad Governments," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 125(4), pages 1511-1575, November.
    6. Petros G. Sekeris, 2010. "Endogenous Elites: Power Structure and Patron-Client Relationships," Working Papers 1008, University of Namur, Department of Economics.
    7. Marina Azzimonti, 2011. "Barriers to Investment in Polarized Societies," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(5), pages 2182-2204, August.
    8. Amegashie, J. Atsu, 2008. "Autocratic rule in ethnically-diverse societies," MPRA Paper 8933, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    9. Abel Escribà-Folch, 2009. "Do authoritarian institutions mobilize economic cooperation?," Constitutional Political Economy, Springer, vol. 20(1), pages 71-93, March.

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